Magnus Ridolph
Created by Jack Vance (1916 --)

There are similarities between Miro Hetzel, Jack Vance's other sci-fi eye, and MAGNUS RIDOLPH, who appeared in a string of ten short stories in the forties and fifties, but they are certainly distinguishable from one another. Both basically do the same kind of work, but their personalities and physical descriptions are different. Part of this similarity is due to Jack Vance's type of hero he often uses in his stories. These are usually adventurers who are loners, very intelligent, and who by perseverance win out in the end (usually by outsmarting their opponents). Some, like Magnus Ridolph, are also a bit of a rascal, too. Hetzel is "a loner, a dapper, dignified adventurer who barely manages to stay one step ahead of the creditors. Part gentleman, part pretender, part detective, his trail of antics cuts across galactic civilizations of all
varities. Miro Hetzel is a riddle-solver, a man who makes things happen."

Magnus Ridolph "didn't look like an intersteller troubleshooter, at first. He was not tall and muscular, ... and his voice and manner seemed far too mild for an adventurer. Yet there was a chill hardness in his mild eyes that warned of the deceptiveness of his appearance..."

There is a bit of humor in the stories; he tells one client: "If your business requires feats of physical prowess, I beg you hire elsewhere. My janitor might satisfy your needs; an excellent chap who engages his spare time moving bar-bells from one elevation to another."

As can be seen, wit and intelligence is important in a Vance hero.

Science fiction writer Jack (actually John Holbrook) Vance was born in 1916, and was responsible for several mystery books published under that name, as well as a few under pseudonyms, including two published as Ellery Queen. He won an Edgar Award for best mystery in 1960 for his book The Man in the Cage. He also wrote about a successor of sorts of Ridolph, Miro Hetzel, a galactic effectuator who was occasionally at least as much con artist as private gumshoe.




Respectfully submitted by Monte Herridge.

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